tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN August 30, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
you can see the effects of that on the ground. follow-up. >> i understand nato has no troops on the ground. do you know that there are any other troops operating beyond nato? >> we we have been conducting an air operation and a maritime operation under the united nations mandate for security council resolutions 1970 and 1973. we're conducting the operation successfully. once we know the job is done, we're hoping to wrap up no sooner, no later when all the
aspects of the mandate have been successfully fulfilled. >> from the english service at your nose. there are no troops on the ground. did you have plans in place should the situation deteriorate, but on the ground or support peacekeepers? >> as neda ambassadors and they can trading partners operation protector discussed last week, there is no intention and no plan to put any ground troops in libya. under the current mandate, that is not the case anyway. nato will not be taking the lead role in the post-gaddafi period. we stand ready to support the
united nations if needed, if required. no decision has been taken. >> just to take you back to the issue and targets you have hit around sirte. e a threat to the area and do you know which targets he is threatening. could you address the questions -- there are questions going between pro-and anti-gadhafi sides. are is prepared to take action? >> generally speaking, we have to recognize that this
represents a trip globally. wherever he is, the remnants of the regime still demonstrate an ability to command and control systematic attacks. we have seen in a few days ago one way -- a few days prior, both from the vicinity of sirte. we looking at the theater of operation as a global entity. does he represent a threat specifically, i do not know. does he represent a threat to the security of libya? most certainly. continue to we loo
engage assets that are deployed. your second question, the presence of the rebels. so far, the anti-gadhafi forces have shown no intent to conduct systematic attacks against the population. we're talking about citizens who did uprisings on communities. they have shown some signs of restraint in older cities.
threat, has been a global threat and is threatening the overall opposition. gaddafi has repeated aggressive intent. they have shown no intent at all to retreat peacefully and call their troops to stop. from that perspective, they remain generally a threat. but keep in mind also that the coastal area west of sirte is full of smaller and larger villages. the maneuver of military forces in that area represent a threat to the population of the area. i believe we have one question.
>> the leader of the national transitional council, until last saturday has mentioned -- ask the forces to surrender. otherwise they would be a military confrontation. i do not believe surrender is likely by the gaddafi forces. at this point, if there should be a confrontation, a greater confrontation especially in the area of sirte, inevitably, the
civilians would be in greater danger. what would need to do if the rebels entered forcibly that area, as they get off the forces would attack the civilians. >> thank you. first, i would like to say that we welcome the initiative of maintaining a dialogue. we have seen that in sirte but other regions. i would not dismiss the possibility of a peaceful resolution in sirte or the villages around sirte. it seems to be a long time ago. even also in the south.
where some were expecting bloodshed that did not occur. the sense that we're getting is as the regime is being eroded, in many villages and cities, the citizens seem to wish to avoid a fight. a key element for these discussions are what we call the elders. my apologies for the expression. those who have influence locally -- there is the possible -- possibility of a peaceful resolution.
what if this does not work? tough to predict the future. what i could predict is not the behavior of the actors on the ground but the mayor of nato. we will pursue our mission and remain vigilant. i will not speculate about how we will react to a given situation. what i can assure you is our mission is to protect the civilian population. there are final questions in brussels that are follow-ups. >> i was interested in more reasoning as to why you considered it off the global threat. the united states downgraded him as a threat when they took away
much of his nuclear capability. i would be interested in your definition of that, thanks. >> based on several factors. first it is the ability that he still displays to command and control troops movements. the troops that we see are not in disarray. they are retreating in an orderly fashion. concealing ground and going to the second best position they could hold. we have seen it a few days ago.
although they were being pushed back, there were aggressive in shelling the airports. let me declare the regime -- the threat still remains. it has been demonstrated in the past. the threats will be over. people are starting to rebuild their country. >> you are identifying him as a global threat. >> my intent is not to -- we are
talking generally speaking. projecting power within the borders of libya. there were a serious threats -- serious threat. when you were mentioning earlier you had reports of discussions between anti- and pro-khaddafi supporters, you were reporting [unintelligible] and elsewhere. we have seen dialogue in several
villages that basically were freed i'm not saying no hostilities. just to get your picture. several cities are not fortified war zones. several cities, especially smaller villages are often controlled only with a few checkpoints. along the key road. in one or two relatively small command-and-control centers. this is the best way i could describe the picture on the ground. >> we have seen clearly where the threat has been coming from.
we continue to call on all remnants of the regime to stop their threats and attacks and laid down their arms and stop the bloodshed and allow the libyan people to build the new future for libya in reconciliation, in peace and full respect for the rule of law. >> thank you. >> just to let you know that briefing from nato will lead off our prime-time programming tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern. then remarks from president obama in minneapolis. a discussion on the challenges of building the afghan security
forces as the u.s. continues its drawdown in that country. finally, allen was holding a town hall meeting with constituents in palm beach gardens. tonight on c-span3, a discussion on medical marijuana and the war on drugs. >> there is not -- never going to be and drug-free society. we have no choice -- to accept the fact that drugs are here to stay. rather it is to accept the reality they are here to stay and to figure out how do we learn how to live with the reality of drugs in our society
so they cause the least possible harm. "washington journal" continues its series on the weather. talking about the role of her organization and on friday, jack hayes on the role of the national weather service. a look at whether what this week at 9:15 a.m. each morning. ron paul visited with voters in iowa. a fund-raising picnic. he talks about the u.s. economy and the federal reserve system. it is 20 minutes.
[applause] >> thank you. it is nice to see this large crowd out. i am delighted to be here. it was mentioned, that is better. that is good buys. it was mentioned a minute ago, 40% of the american people are not paying taxes. a media person ask me, what do you think of half the people paying -- not paying income taxes and my response was, we're halfway there. that has been one of my goals. i am old fashioned on some things like the constitution. i still take the oath of office seriously. we have people in washington that only voted for bills that were constitutionally correct, we would not need any context. we would have would not have the entitlement system.
we would not be running up these debts. it would be impossible. that is my ideal. that is my goal. i do not talk a lot about flat taxes and sales taxes and the different ways of taxes. i want a flat tax. to make sure we're not paying hardly any taxes. including getting rid of the income tax, the goal should be more easily achievable. i do not think we should have an inheritance tax. we should repeal that. my problem is the government is too big. as government gets bigger, your personal liberties are diminished. there is no way you can escape it. if you deliver the -- you cannot do that without a high taxation. taxation is a symptom of what the people oppose the appetite
is for government. for us to change what is happening in washington, people have to change their appetite. if you believe we have to be in 130 countries, you have to have high taxation. taxes are so high it does not pay the bills. we live within our means and we borrow and cannot borrow any more. we cannot tax any more. what do we do? we invent this ridiculous idea, we are short money. let's print it. this is why the federal reserve system and the monetary system has to be addressed if you want to address the subject of the government. my position as loud and clear. we do not need a federal reserve system, we need a gold standard for our money. if we had a government that honored that, government would
be limited in size. if the federal reserve could not print money, interest rates would go up and congress would have to cut back spending. we do not have that. it was leaving the gold standard in 1971 that convinced me of what we had embarked on. you look at any economic chart from 1971 on. economic growth has been diminished. debts have increased, deficits are huge. this system is bigger than ever. there are no restraints. the appetite for spending is just as and less. we as members of congress have been rewarded for it because people's appetites are satisfied. we live in a different world. it is a different world where everyone is challenging the entitlement system.
i challenged the system on principle. i do not believe entitlements are right. we have to get back to understanding what rights are. you have a right to your life and liberty, you ought to keep you learn. people who claim they are entitled does not mean they have a right to what you learned. [applause] i've talked a lot about foreign policy. i will not talk so much tonight. foreign policy is important. there is a lot of spending in it. there are some basic principles we should adhere to. i resent the fact we go to war now not without your permission. the constitution is explicitly clear. we go to war with the declaration. congress gets behind it and people get behind it.
you fight to win and you get it over with. you do not drag it out for 10 or 20 years. [applause] the other thing i resent. the method that we go to war. we do not ask the congress anymore. we ask the united nations. we go to the un and get a resolution. then we go to nato and nato organizers. we become marching troops tornado. i do not like that internationalism. i do not think we should be taking orders from the un. [applause] we have been careless with that for a long time ever since world war ii. we have been fighting a lot of wars. this libya is an affront to our dignity. we went to war there with the president saying, i do not need to talk to you.
not even a token resolution. the tragedy is, congress has not stood up to the president. the president goes to war and says this is no big deal. we're going in there and it is for all kinds of reasons. if we knew and understood what national sovereignty men, we would not succumb to this. we would not allow this to happen. we would act within the confines of the constitution. i can look at the problems we had and blamed the lack of respect. if we got into this from mess, getting back to a dignified economy and common sense. thedon't we obey constitution once again? that would solve so many of our problems. article one section 8 lists what
we are allowed to do. the things we're not allowed to do is explicitly express and they are expressed in the ninth and 10th amendment. those powers and rights given to the government, they are left for the state. i believe strongly the state's need to express themselves and to say that they have the responsibility. we should not be deferring to the federal government all the time. if you want regulations, the regulations can be local. what about education? how long have we been deferring to the government on education? did we amend the constitution? we started doing it. did people in congress say much? we should say something. we need to take care of our schools ourselves.
we have a lot of problems. i have a lot of goals. some people say they are idealistic. if you do not have ideals you are not going to go very far so you have to set some goals. ideally, the most responsible thing would be is for parents to be responsible for their education and a local community. that is what should be done. we really do not need a department of education. if you're looking for places to cut, we could start with the department of education and other departments we do not need. when you look at these problems, it is always good to be able to opt out of the system. you cannot change it. the monetary system is a mess. people want to opt out. if you opt out, if you use gold
and silver as legal tender, the federal government can arrest you and a key issue of terrorism and counterfeiting. the counterfeiters are at the federal reserve. [applause] i would like to legalize or right and your constitutional right to use gold and silver as money. if you like the paper money, keep using it. if you should use honest money, use the gold and silver. you can do that in education as well. we have a monstrosity of paper across a controlling education. hiring thousands of barakat -- bureaucrats. we have to argue the case for are opting out. that means we should never allow government to encroach upon your right to do homeschooling and private schooling. also in madison. i would like to opt out of obama
care. you ought to be able to opt out of the system. why can you opt out of all government systems? we can put our money in and get our tax deduction and by major medical policy and let the government stay out of our lives. [applause] i would like to see where the government stays out of our wallets and we would be better off if we had a government like that. we are in big trouble right now. financial trouble. it is inexplicable. the austrian free-market economists had predicted this. timing is something that is more difficult to predict but the events are, if you print a lot of money, if it is all paper, i will write you a guarantee. the value of that currency will
go down and it will go down more rapidly than it has. the real danger we face today is the fact we could have runaway inflation. the entitlements on the going to be paid and there are demonstrations an anger on the street. runaway inflation is dangerous. we need to address this subject of the deficit and the debt and the spending. i and all that we do. because when you have chaos, what happens is people are too anxious and say, we need more government to take care of us and make a safe. i have come to the conclusion that sacrificing your liberty to be safe does not work. you are sacrificing but you're never more safe. we need to protect our liberties. that is what our goal should be. one of the responsibilities of the federal government is
national defense. giving us the sound currency and the economic system that provides the opportunity and the chance for you to take care of yourself. we need to reemphasize this like we have never emphasized it before. we can say we have freedom here and there. we have to know what our goal is. it should be the protection of liberty. not for running your life or economy. a president or congress does not know how to run the economy. they do not know how you should spend your money. they do not know how -- what your spiritual values are. the sooner we learned that lesson, the faster we can shrink this budget and the deficit. if we get into a situation where there is chaos on the street, i am afraid to many people will say what we want is order.
the best order in a free society and the only way you can be protected is not by having more policemen, not by having more federal agents with guns who come in who are all illegal anyway, you need a firm understanding of how the second amendment works to protect you in a physical manner. a lot of people are discouraged and i have discouraging news for you. there is a lot of good news out there. a lot of people are paying attention to what this country is all about. what made us great, what made us proper is, why property rights are important, wide taxation is wrong, people are thinking about, the young people are talking about this. study and understand why we should not have a federal reserve system and why the
constitution is important. that is where i get my encouragement. people are thinking this way because it is down to 17% the believe our federal government is acting within the confines of what they are permitted to do. the large majority are disgusted and angry and are looking for answers. the answers are not new. we tested them. we tested them for a couple hundred years. we have allowed it to slip. we have lost our confidence and our determination to study and understand how free markets work. people give us a bad rap. we get a bad rap because they say we do not care. we do not have any compassion. we do not care about our fellowman. if you are compassionate, you will always opt for the free- market and freedom and property rights. look at history. the prosperity has come with
greater freedom. we have had the greatest freedom and the greatest prosperity. it is going downhill. these 10 years have been bad is. it is not since 2008. we have not created any real jobs in 10 years and accumulated this debt. it is coming to an end. what are we going to do about it? are we going to reinstate these values and say we should not give up on this experiment? if you look at all of history, it has been occupied by dictators and authoritarian and kings and pharaohs. we have the test. it is wonderful. we are allowing it to slip from our fingers unless we make a declaration we do truly believe in freedom and free markets. that is what the goal ought to be. that is everything you should do politically is to strive for
those values. do not allow us to leave this and lose this. the need is there. four years ago, the attention for what i was talking about has been minimal. today, there is a lot more attention. not so i can give better speeches. there is a greater need. people are realizing the system we have today is not working. even those who have been on the receiving end are getting worried. how're you going to get your jobs -- there is a lot of concern. there is a lot of opportunity. we do have the answer. our party has traditionally stood for these values. we have to restate those principles and stick to them. there is no reason we have to go downhill. there is every reason to believe that if we do the right thing, it would not take long with our liberties, we can get on our
feet in no time. if we do not restore our liberty, we're in big trouble and it may take longer. thank you for coming today and allowing me to speak. it was great visiting with you. i will see you on another day. thank you. >> he talked about the economy and downsizing the government. this is 10 minutes. >> thank you for that kind introduction. rock-and-roll does not pay. great to be back here at the state fair grounds as well. my last time here, i was on a soapbox and i was discovering such exotic amusements as a butter cow and fried butter on a stick. i discovered people are concerned about their future. which is why for the first time in my life when i all -- it
arrived at a republican event, i was given a bodyguard. there is eric. there is my bodyguard. when eric introduced himself, i said i am from detroit. who is going to protect you from me? it is great to be here. despite the difficult times in which we find ourselves, we as republicans embrace the challenges before us. just as the party of lincoln embraced the challenges that were born in the crucible of civil war, to support union and emancipation. just as the republican party in 1980 came together in the midst of a cold war to support liberty and prosperity and the end of an evil empire. today, the challenges we face
are equally daunting to some. namely, those who believe that only government can solve our problems. we know better. we understand the democratic party is not progressive. the democrat party is regressive. this country was founded as an experiment in liberty in self- government. and the future of this country remains liberty and self- government. when the democratic party tells you your decisions and property and liberty must continue to be housed within a large, massive, including federal welfare state, we tell them know. that is the politics and the policies of the past. when you look around the world,
you live amidst a communication revolution. one which is imploring you to an extent on trumped by your fellow human beings. you can go home tonight. you can seek information from anywhere in the world. there are no longer bound by mainstream networks or a handful of newspapers. you can go home tonight and at your computer, you can order goods or services from anywhere in the world. you are no longer bound by how far your car can drive for what the male may bring you. you can go home tonight as i would advocate that you do, and use your laptop computer to spread the message of the republican party of our optimistic view of where the country is going to go. you can send it to your friends, you can send it to your family,
or you can send it around the world. we live in a world where we will not let the government tell you what to put on your facebook page. you would not let the government tell you. you would not let the government to tell you how to run your life or what to put on your ipod. why would anyone let the federal government who their doctor could be? why would anyone let the federal government continue to foster regulations that destroy the productive capacity in a time of recession. why would anyone go from an entrepreneurial, citizen driven future back to the field poll six of jimmy carter in the 1970's and the answer is, we will not.
we will restructure the government for the 21st century, to make it smaller, nimbler, more accountable, more flat. our democratized economy is and we know our democratized communications are. the federal government cannot operate as it did in 1965. no business can operate in this was 46 years ago and expect to be viable in the 21st century. we must use the principles that lincoln and reagan taught us in restructuring this government. we understand the need for a social safety net. we understand the morality of helping those who cannot help themselves. we understand the morality of helping those in a temporary period of time are struggling to get back to the dignity of self-
reliance. what we will never accept is the welfare state that takes individuals who are self-reliant and test them to become dependent upon government and the redistribution of other people's wealth. that is unjust and impractical. and non-sustainable. restructuring government is not the only challenge we face. we have to be willing to accept the same big government that bailed out the big wall street banks is one of the central problems facing our economy today. we experienced the greatest credit contraction since the depression. this is not the fault of community banks. it is not the fault of credit unions which are being punished as if they had caused the problem when they have not. it is the fault of the economy.
we understand the need for credit. the need for capital, to produce wealth and put product into the marketplace. they are forced to recapitalized if they are no longer subsidized by the actions of the government in washington were big ben bernanke and his failed federal reserve board. if we do this we will continue with tax reform, regulatory reform, and all the above energy strategy. when have matched those reforms, with the creative genius of the american people, their industriousness, their entrepreneurial spirit, you will see unprecedented prosperity that will not only get us out of this economic stagnation, it will lay the foundation for
america to remain the world's leading economic engine in the 21st century. [applause] finally, we must also as a party defend america from her enemies. we understand peace through strength must be matched with the productive capabilities of the u.s. to have any merit and receive respect. we understand the u.s. cannot -- and abandon them to their fate. we must protect a fragile gains and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform so america keeps her word so those people have a chance to the god-given right to liberty which we all have and our problems do not follow us home. as we learned from lincoln,
those who seek to insure liberty for themselves must extend liberty to others. if we fail in that mission, we not only fail in the short term strategic sense, we will fail and we will do no favors, no honor to the men and women in uniform who have given so much to make this possible. i would like to end on an optimistic note. i have no doubt that despite these difficult times, it would be a hard road to a better day. we can get there. there are doubts about the nature of our free people. the and thus are not the problem. the problem is a big government that knows it believes better than you how to live your lives but the reality is this, despite
on his blunderbuss tour, president obama talking about all the horrible interest groups that are somehow hold america back, he left one now. i would like to remind him, the most powerful special interests in the world is the government and president obama is its lobbyist. in 2012, with your support we will ensure he has all the time it wants to vacation on martha's vineyard. -- he wants to vacation on martha's vineyard. it will happen regardless of
whether i am the nominee. we will insure that we will reaffirm american exceptional some and we project the new norms of american mediocrity. cede to european socialism aor chinese communism. we will guarantee the 21st century is one of american freedom and it will remain a virtuous purposeful republic that exists to inspire the world. thank you. [applause] >> coming up, a news conference
on nato operations in libya. neda will continue operations were has intensified military strikes. it was also reported tripoli was "essentially free." see the briefing tonight. but tv continues in prime time. hitler's berlin. and a discussion of "reckless endangerment." at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "book tv". earlier, president obama called on congress, the private sector, and state governments to take up new initiatives aimed at finding jobs for veterans. he announced his plan at the national convention of the american legion. his comments are 45 minutes.
>> the american legion family nearly 4 million members strong is honored by the appearance of our next guest. we have a sacred trust he has said we have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform and his actions as the nation's 44th commander-in-chief reflect that commitment. the recovery and reinvestment act which he signed provides the va with $1.4 billion to improve services to americans veterans. his administration has proved -- approved resources to implement and improve the gi bill. changes that were supported by the american legion. he has shown a commitment to winning the war against terrorists in afghanistan by increasing our troops' presence. he has taken the advice of the
enemy, using drawn attacks to eliminate terrorists hiding in pakistan and other areas. what can forget his announcement on may 1 that a u.s. navy seal team has successfully carried out a raid and killed osama bin laden? [applause] he has also felt the heavy burdens of being commander in chief. illustrated earlier when he presided over the remains of a group of seals and other american service members as they arrived home to dover air force base. a supporter of american legion programs, the president took out time out of his busy schedule to personally meet with everyone of our participants. his wife, first lady michelle obama, launched a force --
joined forces initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunity and support they have burned. ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm american legion welcome to the hon. barack h. obama, president of the united states and commander-in-chief. >> thank you. thank you so much. hello, legionnaires. it is wonderful to see all of you. let me first of all flight
commander foster for your introduction and for your lifetime of service to your fellow moll -- marines, soldiers, and veterans. on behalf of the soil, and what to think -- on behalf of us all, i want to thank jimmie and i want to thank your entire leadership team for welcoming me here today. thank you very much. your national adjutant endured executive director, your voice in washington, peter gaytan, and the president of the american legion auxiliary, carlene ashwo rth, thank you for or extraordinary service. [applause] to rehta foster and the spouses, daughters, and sisters of the
ancillary, and the sons of the american legion, as military families, you also serve and we salute you as well. there are some special guests here and want to acknowledge. they may already be acknowledged. they're great friends i want to make sure i point them out. first of all, the wonderful governor of minnesota is here. [applause] two senators working on behalf of veterans every single day. amy klobuchar and al franken. congressman keith ellison, this is his district. [applause] minneapolis mayor r.t. rybak, a great friend. to all the other members of
congress and minnesota elected officials were here, welcome. it is wonderful to be back with the american legion. back in illinois, my home state -- [applause] hey. illinois is in the house. we work together to make sure veterans across the state were getting the veterans benefits they have turned. when i was in the u.s. senate, we work together to spotlight the tragedy of homelessness among veterans and the need to end it. as president i welcomed jimmie and your leadership to the oval office to hear directly from you. i have been honored to have you by my side when i signed advance preparations to protect veterans health care from the budget battles in washington --
[applause] when i signed legislation to give new support to veterans and their care givers, and, most recently, when a proposed new initiatives to make sure the private sector is hiring our talented veterans. so, american legion, i think you for your partnership. i appreciate the opportunity to talk with you today about what we need to do make sure america is taking care of our veterans as well as you have taken care of us. i am grateful to be with you for another reason. a lot of our federal -- fellow citizens are still reeling from hurricane irene and its aftermath. folks are serving the damage. some are dealing with tremendous flooding. as a government, we're going to make sure that states and communities have the support they need so there folks can recover. -- their folks can recover. [applause]
across the nation we're still digging out from the worst economic crisis since the great depression. it is taking longer and it has been more difficult than any of us had imagined. and even though we have taken some steps in the right direction, we have got a lot more to do. our economy has proved faster. we have to create more jobs, and we have to do it faster. and most of all, we have got to break the gridlock in washington that has been preventing us from taking the action we need to get this country moving. [applause] that is why, next week, i will be speaking to the nation about a plan to create jobs and reduce our deficit -- a plan i want to see passed by congress. we have got to get this done. here is what else i know. we americans have been through tough times before, much tougher than these. and we did not just get through them.
we emerged stronger than before. not by luck. not by chance. but because, in hard times, americans do not quit. we do not give up. [no audi [applause] we summon that spirit that says when we come together, when we choose to move forward together, as one people, there's nothing we cannot achieve. and, legionnaires, you know the store because it is the story of your lives. and in times like these, all americans can draw strength from your example. when hitler controlled a continent and fascism appeared unstoppable, when our harbor was bombed and our pacific fleet crippled, there were those that
declared that the united states had been reduced to a third class power. but you, our veterans are for reiman to come across the oceans and stormed the beaches and freed the millions, liberated the camps, and showed the united states of america is the greatest force for freedom that the world has ever known. [applause] when north korea invaded the south, pushing the allied forces into a tiny sliver of territory - the pusan perimeter - it seemed like the war could be lost. but you, our korean war veterans, pushed back, fought on, year after bloody year. and this past veterans day, i went to seoul and joined our korean war veterans for the 60th anniversary of that war, and we marked that milestone in
a free and prosperous republic of korea, one of our greatest allies. when communist forces in vietnam unleashed the tet offensive, it fueled the debate here at home that raged over that war. you, our vietnam veterans, did not always receive the respect that you deserved - which was a national shame. but let it be remembered that you won every major battle of that war. every single one. (applause.) as president, i've been honored to welcome our vietnam veterans to the white house and finally present them with the medals and recognition that they had earned. it's been a chance to convey, on behalf of the american people, those simple words with which our vietnam veterans greet each other - "welcome home."
(applause.) legionnaires, in the decades that followed, the spirit of your service was carried forth by our troops in the sands of desert storm and the rugged hills of the balkans. and now, it's carried on by a new generation. next weekend, we'll mark the 10th anniversary of those awful attacks on our nation. in the days ahead, we will honor the lives we lost and the families that loved them; the first responders who rushed to save others; and we will honor all those who have served to keep us safe these 10 difficult years, especially the men and women of our armed forces. today, as we near this solemn anniversary, it's fitting that
we salute the extraordinary decade of service rendered by the 9/11 generation - the more than 5 million americans who've worn the uniform over the past 10 years. they were there, on duty, that september morning, having enlisted in a time of peace, but they instantly transitioned to a war footing. they're the millions of recruits who have stepped forward since, seeing their nation at war and saying, "send me." they're every single soldier, sailor, airman, marine and coast guardsman serving today, who has volunteered to serve in a time of war, knowing that they could be sent into harm's way. they come from every corner of our country, big cities, small towns. they come from every background and every creed.
they're sons and daughters who carry on the family's tradition of service, and they're new immigrants who've become our newest citizens. they're our national guardsmen and reservists who've served in unprecedented deployments. they're the record number of women in our military, proving themselves in combat like never before. and every day for the past 10 years, these men and women have succeeded together - as one american team. (applause.) they're a generation of innovators, and they've changed the way america fights and wins at wars. raised in the age of the internet, they've harnessed new technologies on the battlefield. they've learned the cultures and traditions and languages of the places where
they served. trained to fight, they've also taken on the role of diplomats and mayors and development experts, negotiating with tribal sheikhs, working with village shuras, partnering with communities. young captains, sergeants, lieutenants -- they've assumed responsibilities once reserved for more senior commanders, and reminding us that in an era when so many other institutions have shirked their obligations, the men and women of the united states military welcome responsibility. (applause.) in a decade of war, they've borne an extraordinary burden, with more than 2 million of our service members deploying to the warzones. hundreds of
thousands have deployed again and again, year after year. never before has our nation asked so much of our all- volunteer force - that one percent of americans who wears the uniform. we see the scope of their sacrifice in the tens of thousands who now carry the scars of war, both seen and unseen - our remarkable wounded warriors. we see it in our extraordinary military families who serve here at home - the military spouses who hold their families together; the millions of military children, many of whom have lived most of their young lives with our nation at war and mom or dad deployed. most profoundly, we see the wages of war in those patriots who never came home. they gave
their all, their last full measure of devotion, in kandahar, in the korengal, in helmand, in the battles for baghdad and fallujah and ramadi. now they lay at rest in quiet corners of america, but they live on in the families who loved them and in a nation that is safer because of their service. and today we pay humble tribute to the more than 6,200 americans in uniform who have given their lives in this hard decade of war. we honor them all. we are grateful for them. through their service, through their sacrifice, through their astonishing record of achievement, our forces have earned their place among the greatest of generations. toppling the taliban in just weeks. driving al qaeda from the training camps where they
plotted 9/11. giving the afghan people the opportunity to live free from terror. when the decision was made to go into iraq, our troops raced across deserts and removed a dictator in less than a month. when insurgents, militias and terrorists plunged iraq into chaos, our troops adapted, they endured ferocious urban combat, they reduced the violence and gave iraqis a chance to forge their own future. when a resurgent taliban threatened to give al qaeda more space to plot against us, the additional forces i ordered to afghanistan went on the offensive - taking the fight to the taliban and pushing them out of their safe havens, allowing afghans to reclaim their communities and training afghan forces. and a few months ago, our troops achieved our greatest victory yet in the fight against those who attacked us on 9/11 -- delivering justice
to osama bin laden in one of the greatest intelligence and military operations in american history. (applause.) credit for these successes, credit for this progress, belongs to all who have worn the uniform in these wars. (applause.) today we're honored to be joined by some of them. and i would ask all those who served this past decade - the members of the 9/11 generation - to stand and accept the thanks of a grateful nation. (applause.)
thanks to these americans, we're moving forward from a position of strength. having ended our combat mission in iraq and removed more than 100,000 troops so far, we'll remove the rest of our troops by the end of this year and we will end that war. (applause.) having put al qaeda on the path to defeat, we won't relent until the job is done. having started to draw down our forces in afghanistan, we'll bring home 33,000 troops by next summer and bring home more troops in the coming years. (applause.) as our mission transitions from combat to support, afghans will take responsibility for their own security, and the longest war in american history will come to a responsible end.
for our troops and military families who've sacrificed so much, this means relief from an unrelenting decade of operations. today, fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm's way. for so many troops who've already done their duty, we've put an end to the stop loss. and our soldiers can now look forward to shorter deployments. that means more time at home between deployments, and more time training for the full range of missions that they will face. indeed, despite 10 years of continuous war, it must be said - america's military is the best that it's ever been. (applause.) we saw that most recently in the skill and precision of our brave forces
who helped the libyan people finally break free from the grip of moammar qaddafi. (applause.) and as we meet the test that the future will surely bring, including hard fiscal choices here at home, there should be no doubt: the united states of america will keep our military the best-trained, the best-led, the best-equipped fighting force in history. it will continue to be the best. (applause.) now, as today's wars end, as our troops come home, we're reminded once more of our responsibilities to all who have served. the bond between our forces and our citizens must be a sacred trust. and for me and my administration, upholding that trust is not just a matter of policy, it is not about politics; it is a moral
obligation. that's why my very first budget included the largest percentage increase to the va budget in the past 30 years. (applause.) so far, we're on track to have increased funding for veterans affairs by 30 percent. and because we passed advanced appropriations, when washington politics threatens to shut down the government, as it did last spring, the veterans' medical care that you count on was safe. and let me say something else about va funding that you depend on. as a nation, we're facing some tough choices as we put our fiscal house in order. but i want to be absolutely clear: we cannot, we must not, we will not, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans. (applause.) as commander-in- chief, i won't allow it. (applause.)
with these historic investments, we're making dramatic improvements to veterans' health care. we're improving va facilities to better serve our women veterans. we're expanding outreach and care for our rural veterans, like those that i met during my recent visit to cannon falls, including two proud legionnaires - tom newman of legion post 620 in hugo, and joseph kidd, post 164 in stewartville. are they here right now? they're out there somewhere. (applause.) that was a good lunch, by the way. (laughter.) for our vietnam veterans,
because we declared that three diseases are now presumed to be related to your exposure to agent orange, we've begun paying the disability benefits that you need. (applause.) for our veterans of the gulf war, we're moving forward to address the nine infectious diseases that we declared are now presumed to be related to your service in desert storm. (applause.) at the same time, our outstanding va secretary, ric shinseki, is working every day to build a 21st century va. many of our vietnam vets are already submitting their agent orange claims electronically. hundreds of you, from all wars, are requesting your benefits online. thanks to the new "blue button" on the va website, you can now share your personal
health information with your doctors outside of the va. and we're making progress in sharing medical records between dod and va. we're not there yet. i've been pounding on this thing since i came into office. we are going to stay on it, we're going to keep at it until our troops and our veterans have a lifetime electronic medical record that you can keep for your life. (applause.) of course, we've still got some work to do. we got to break the backlog of disability claims. i know that over the past year, the backlog has actually grown due to new claims from agent orange. but let me say this -- and i know secretary shinseki agrees -- when our veterans who fought for our country have to fight just to get the benefits that you've already earned, that's unacceptable. so this is going to remain a key priority for us. (applause.)
we're going to keep hiring new claims processors, and we're going to keep investing in new paperless systems and keep moving ahead with our innovation competition in which our dedicated va employees are developing new ways to process your claims faster. we want your claims to be processed not in months, but in days. so the bottom line is this - your claims need to be processed quickly and accurately, the first time. we're not going to rest until we get that done. we will not rest. (applause.) the same is true for our mission to end homelessness among our veterans. already, we've helped to bring tens of thousands of veterans off the streets. for the first time ever, we've made veterans and military families a priority - not just at the va, not just at dod, but across the federal government. and that includes making sure that federal agencies are working together so
that every veteran who fought for america has a home in america. (applause.) we're working to fulfill our obligations to our 9/11 generation veterans, especially our wounded warriors. the constant threat of ieds has meant a new generation of service members with multiple traumatic injuries, including traumatic brain injury. and thanks to advanced armor and medical technologies, our troops are surviving injuries that would have been fatal in previous wars. so we're saving more lives, but more american veterans live with severe wounds for a lifetime. that's why we need to be for them for their lifetime. we're giving unprecedented support to our wounded warriors - especially those with
traumatic brain injury. and thanks to the veterans and caregivers legislation i signed into law, we've started training caregivers so that they can receive the skills and the stipends that they need to care for their loved ones. (applause.) we're working aggressively to address another signature wound of this war, which has led to too many fine troops and veterans to take their own lives, and that's post- traumatic stress disorder. we're continuing to make major investments -- improving outreach and suicide prevention, hiring and training more mental health counselors, and treating more veterans than ever before. the days when depression and ptsd were stigmatized -- those days must end. that's why i made the decision to start sending condolence letters to the families of service members who take their lives while deployed in a combat zone.
these americans did not die because they were weak. they were warriors. they deserve our respect. every man and woman in uniform, every veteran, needs to know that your nation will be there to help you stay strong. (applause.) it's the right thing to do. in recent months, we've heard new reports of some of our veterans not getting the prompt mental health care that they desperately need. and that, too, is unacceptable. if a veteran has the courage to seek help, then we need to be doing everything in our power to deliver the lifesaving mental care that they need. so secretary shinseki and the va are going to stay on this. and we'll continue to make it easier for veterans with post- traumatic stress to qualify for va benefits, regardless of the war that you served in. if you served in a combat theater and a va doctor confirms a diagnosis of ptsd, that's enough. which brings me to the final
area where america must meet its obligations to our veterans, and this is a place where we need each other -- and that's the task of renewing our nation's economic strength. after a decade of war, it's time to focus on nation building here at home. and our veterans, especially our 9/11 veterans, have the skills and the dedication to help lead the way. that's why we're funding the post-9/11 g.i. bill, which is now helping more than 500,000 veterans and family members go to college, get their degrees, and play their part in moving america forward. (applause.) it's why, this fall, we'll start including vocational training and apprenticeships as well, so veterans can develop the skills to succeed in today's economy. and that's why i've directed the federal government
to hire more veterans, including more than 100,000 veterans in the past year and a half alone. but in this tough economy, far too many of our veterans are still unemployed. that's why i've proposed a comprehensive initiative to make sure we're tapping the incredible talents of our veterans. and it's got two main parts. first, we're going to do more to help our newest veterans find and get that private sector job. we're going to offer -- (applause) -- we're going to offer more help with career development and job searches. i've directed dod and the va to create what we're calling a "reverse boot camp" to help our newest veterans prepare for civilian jobs and translate their exceptional military skills into industry -- into industry-accepted licenses and credentials. and today i'm calling on every state to pass
legislation that makes it easier for our veterans to get the credentials and the jobs for which they are so clearly qualified. this needs to happen, and it needs to happen now. (applause.) second, we're encouraging the private sector to do its part. so i've challenged companies across america to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans or their spouses. and this builds on the commitments that many companies have already made as part of the joining forces campaign, championed by the first lady and the vice president's spouse, dr. jill biden: 100,000 jobs for veterans and spouses. and to get this done, i've proposed a returning heroes tax credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans and a wounded warrior tax credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans with a disability. (applause.)
when congress returns from recess, this needs to be at the top of their agenda. for the sake of our veterans, for the sake of our economy, we need these veterans working and contributing and creating the new jobs and industries that will keep america competitive in the 21st century. these are the obligations we have to each other - our forces, our veterans, our citizens. these are the responsibilities we must fulfill. not just when it's easy, not just when we're flush with cash, not just when it's convenient, but always. that's a lesson we learned again this year in the life and in the passing of frank buckles, our last veteran from the first
world war. he passed away at the age of 110. think about it. frank lived the american century. an ambulance driver on the western front, he bore witness to the carnage of the trenches in europe. then during the second world war, he survived more than three years in japanese prisoner of war camps. then, like so many veterans, he came home, went to school, pursued a career, started a family, lived a good life on his farm in west virginia. even in his later years, after turning 100, frank buckles still gave back to his country. he'd go speak to schoolchildren about his extraordinary life.
he'd meet and inspire other veterans. and for 80 years, he served as a proud member of the american legion. (applause.) the day he was laid to rest, i ordered the flags be flown at half-staff at the white house, at the government buildings across the nation, at our embassies around the world. as frank buckles lay in honor at arlington's memorial chapel, hundreds passed by his flag- draped casket in quiet procession. most were strangers who never knew him, but they knew the story of his service, and they felt compelled to offer their thanks to this american soldier. and that afternoon, i had the privilege of going over to
arlington and spending a few moments with frank's daughter, susannah, who cared for her father to the very end. and it was a chance for me to convey the gratitude of an entire nation and to pay my respects to an american who reflected the best of who we are as a people. and, legionnaires, it was a reminder - not just to the family and friends of corporal frank buckles, but to the veterans and families of every generation -- no matter when you serve, no matter how many years ago that you took off the uniform, no matter how long you live as a proud veteran of this country we love, america will never leave your side. america will never forget. we will always be grateful to you. god bless you. god bless all our veterans. and god bless the united states of america.
>> had this event from earlier today, we will review this event again at later tonight at 8:45 eastern here on c-span. tonight, a news conference on nato operations in libya. naida says it will continue operations in that country where it has intensified military strikes in moammar gadhafi's hometown. it was also said that the capital city was essentially free. see the briefing from brussels live tonight here on c-span. >> tonight on the c-span3, a discussion of the legalization of marijuana and the war on drugs. >> there has never been a drug- free society, whether we like it or not. we ultimately have no choice as a society as children, parents, grandparents, society: never, but to accept the fact that
drugs are here to stay and it is a challenge for us is not how to build a note or keep them at bay at any cost or pay any price or bear any burden to abolish drugs from the face of our society, rather is to accept the reality that they are here to stay and figure out how to lie -- how do we learn how to live with the reality of drugs and our society so that they cause the least possible harm and in some cases, the greatest possible good? >> more from this event tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span3. >> it tomorrow on "washington journal" the business community's reaction to president obama's plan for regulations. and its impact on small businesses. then, a talk about financial assistance and humanitarian programs being offered by the
u.s. foreign countries. after that, a discussion about the science of climatology, including forecasting, observation research, and climate change. plus, your e-mail, phone calls and tweets. earlier today, attorney general eric holder talked about the advances made in emergency communications since 9/11. he spoke at a technology conference for emergency responders for 20 minutes. >> i am delighted the attorney general could join us today. [applause] i will have the honor of introducing him in a few minutes, but i want to say up front that eric holder's presence here is a reflection of
just how seriously this attorney general takes the justice department's responsibilities for protecting american citizens. i would like to think our co- sponsors in the department of homeland's security and the department of defense. we have had a long one -- long- running and productive partnership with these agencies and i am really grateful for their collaboration. i appreciate the support of all federal participants to work with us on these important issues. of course, let me thank all of you, our state, local and tribal public safety partners. we understand the burden of protecting communities in times of emergency is falls squarely on your shoulders. i want you to know and i think i speak for the attorney general as well that we are so appreciative of the work you do back home and we are very proud to support you.
it is fitting we are holding this conference on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the september 11th. we all know that technology, in particular, our communication and response systems, figured prominently in what went wrong that terrific day. -- that horrific day. the good news is 10 years since the worst act of terrorism committed on american soil, we are better able to prevent and respond to acts of mass violence. our resilience is due in great part to our ability to come together at all levels of government to build and bolster a solid public safety infrastructure. that is what this conference is all about -- working with you, our first line responders, to ensure you have the tools and
information you need to protect our citizens and communities. as you will see during your time here, the federal government is fully engaged in strengthening our emergency response systems. i am very pleased that our national institute of justice and their staff is helping to lead these efforts. i'm proud of our work to improve the safety of our state and local law-enforcement officers. in fact, i can tell you that officer safety is a very top priority of this department justice. it is very personal to this attorney general. even beyond our very deep concern for your health and welfare, keeping our law- enforcement personnel and first responders safe is it -- is essential to our response to critical incidents.
nij is working to make sure you have the latest and best technology to do your equipment safely -- to do your job safely. we are leveraging military technology to develop improved respirator face pieces back and help officers respond to chemical, biological, and radiological hazards. we are also working with the army's soldiers center to improve the protective quality of your regular do uniforms. we know you can always put on special gear when an emergency comes up. so we want to make sure your regular equipment has sufficient defensive capabilities. that seems to make sense. nij continues to manage a rigorous testing program to give you an array of protective equipment that meets the highest performance standards.
but having all of this technology on the market is not enough. you need to know where to find it and how to use it. that is why nij is working with our federal partners and officers in the field to develop selection and application guides for officers and for procurement officials on the proper care, maintenance, and inspection of equipment. that kind of practical stuff is really important. once published, these guides of -- will have information on how to train users in how to identify and report defects. i am also very proud of the progress we have made through the nationwide suspicious activity reporting initiative n nsi for short.
it is helping to facilitate the sharing of suspicious activity reports across all levels of government. nsi build on what law enforcement has been doing for years -- a gathering and information on criminal activities associated with terrorism and connecting the dots to prevent future attacks. i think we are making tremendous progress in expanding nsi to jurisdictions across the country in a way that allows you to retain an ownership and control of your own information systems. this is the centerpiece of our work with the law enforcement community and it will grateful -- it will greatly enhance our collective ability to protect communities from future terrorist attacks. through many small and careful steps, we have been able to
strengthen our nation's public safety and homeland security infrastructure. we still have work to do, that is clear, but our progress has been remarkable. as long as we can continue to work together, consulted one another, sharing ideas and resources, and collaborating every turn, i know we will be able to manage a successful response to any threat. we have been very fortunate at the department of justice and in law enforcement across the country to have a leader who values partnership and to understands the importance of science and technology to public safety. i think it is fair to say we have never had an attorney general so committed to science. in fact, i think this will be
one of eric holder's strong as legacies -- his commitment to science. he recognizes technology plays a vital role in our response to critical incidents. i know i speak for john and his staff when i say we have nothing but the strongest support from the attorney general and our work to repair and improve the nation's response systems. the attorney general knows from his experience as a local prosecutor that our state and local law enforcement professionals are the ones to bear the burden of protecting the american citizens. i can tell you he works hard every day to make sure the department of justice is doing all it can to help you do your jobs. from the beginning, this attorney general and this
administration have been committing -- have been committed to listening to and forging a strong relationship with this state and local law enforcement community. as eric holder's presence here attest, that commitment continues. please join me in welcoming the attorney-general of the united states. [applause] >> thank you. good morning. good morning. thank you for those kind words and especially for your outstanding leadership of the office of justice programs. it's a pleasure to stand with you this morning and join you in welcoming so many of our colleagues and critical partners to this conference. i would like to recognize the great work our co-sponsors from the departments of defense and homeland security have done to
make a wide range of state holders together here today. from key federal partners to policy experts to front-line practitioners, each of you is an essential part of the incident response community. each of you has a perspective that will enrich and enhance our understanding of the issues at the center of this conference. as you move through this week's ambitious agenda, each of you has not only the power, but the opportunity to strengthen our nation's ability to prevent, respond to and recover from critical incidents wherever and whenever they occur. in addition to providing an invaluable forum for exchanging ideas, this conference reinforces the ongoing collaboration between law- enforcement responders and capital level agencies, industry representatives and grant administrators, researchers, policymakers and members of the responder community at every level.
i believe it is especially fitting we come together this week as we approach the 10th anniversary of the most devastating terrorist attacks ever carried out against the united states. it is appropriate we assembled just across the river from one of the target's al qaeda struck on that terrible day. as national leaders in that field, there's not a single person in this room that has not reflected at length on the unspeakable events of 9/11 or the lessons they carry for men and women in our line of work. just as we have been inspired by the heroism we saw from first responders and ordinary citizens, we thought about the things that went right and we thought about what might have been done differently. but one thing is clear -- we have come along way in the last decade. we have seen the breakthroughs, technological advances, more effective communication platforms and techniques. but in spite of the improvements and innovations
that have marked the last 10 years, it is important to remember in those crucial first seconds after an incident is reported, even the most advanced technology is just a tool. it is the individual who wields the tool, a local, state, tribal, or federal responder who ensures public safety and saves lives. that is why gatherings like this are so important -- it gives us a chance to showcase the capabilities that our disposal as we work to shape and reinforce a multi jurisdictional, coordinated approach to critical incident response. i am proud of the pivotal role our nation's department of justice continues to play in advancing these efforts and the work we are leading to insure an effective response to emergencies ranging from industrial accidents to national disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes up the east coast responders to the test just last week. and of course, terrorist acts as well. our commitments to these challenges met -- runs much
deeper -- runs much deeper than the fbi and atf. perhaps less visible, but no less important are the department's efforts to build the capacity of our nation's criminal justice community to prevent, respond to it, and recover from incident of all types by conducting and supporting research, providing training opportunities, administering grants, and offering assistance to partners at every level. these partnerships natalie forma the backbone of our communities across the country, but it falls an essential role at the federal level. the national is to justice guides the development of new equipment to the performance standards and testing activities that insures the tools used by responders are safe and effective, at every step along the way, we rely on your feedback. we depend on your engagement, and to be blunt, we need your help.
i'm grateful you always stood ready to provide it. this was especially clear last year when in response to concerns raised -- raised by the international board of standards and interoperable the, the institute of justice help to develop new equipment designed to protect law-enforcement personnel from chemical, biological and radiological and nuclear hazards. i am proud and i think we can be encouraged that researchers addressed this need not only by writing a letter or commissioning a study, by taking direct action, convening a working group of stakeholders ranging from scientists to engineers to law enforcement responders themselves and publishing a new set of equipment standards that requirements of the group. they're now working with the department of homeland's security to make sure protective ensembles can be purchased. they did not just listen to your
concerns, they stepped up and solved the problem. this reflects the renewed focus that researchers have placed on finding ways to address the gaps in our technological capabilities and it reinforces the commitment to broadbased constructive engagement that drives the department of justice's efforts from the ground up. in the same spirit, i am pleased to report the department has taken the steps to work with law important -- law-enforcement orders to implement updates in leveraging new technologies to protect's -- to prevent possible terrorist acts. this is the network of partnerships mentioned between agencies in washington and our counterparts at the state, local, and tribal levels: known as the national suspicious activity reporting or above nsi.
through these partnerships, we have established a national capacity for gathering, documented, processing, analyzing and sharing these suspicious activity reports we receive every day from law- enforcement officials, from private security organizations and even members of the general public. we are connecting the dots were quickly and more effectively than ever for. but as we have seen all too often, most clearly on september the 11th and the aftermath of hurricane katrina, in times of crisis, even the best information is rendered useless if responders are unable to share broadly and a immediately. that is why over the last two years, the department of justice has taken an increasingly active role in helping to ensure the communication needs of federal, state, local and tribal agencies are met and cumbersome jurisdictional barriers are broken down. thanks to the leadership of the associate attorney general, the assistant attorney general and
our colleagues at the office of justice programs and the national institute of justice, we were able to work in partnership with the white house and the department of homeland security and the department of commerce to open a series of discussions about the public safety broadband network. let me be very clear. so long as i am attorney- general, we will advocate for meaningful, affordable access to radio spectrum when and where you need it. this is a priority. at for as long as it takes, we will continue to bring policy makers together with leaders of law enforcement to the broader public safety community and telecommunications industry to make sure you have access to the resources that you need. in spite of the recent progress we have made, especially in this time of growing demand and limited budgets, i know your work has never been more difficult. but there's no question it has also never been more important.
as threats to our national security and public safety grow and evolve, the need to bring our strategies, our capabilities and technological tools and to the 21st century has never been greater. already, a collaborative approach we have adapted is showing signs of promise. from a and the chateaus like the regional fusion centers to training facilities like the fbi's hazardous devices school or efforts to ensure officer safety, we have developed important innovations and achieve significant results by working together. but i am not yet satisfied. we can never afford to become complacent. as we look to the future, we must continue to cooperate, advocate, and raise awareness about the fact we can fight crime more successfully, we can secure our homeland more reliably and we can protect our citizens and responders more effectively by ensuring public safety officers of access to the
latest technologies and best information sharing techniques available. although significant obstacles remain, i am confident that gatherings like this one and the work each of you performs every single day will help bring these efforts to the next level. so, this morning, let us renew our commitment to increase cooperation and collaboration. but us seize the opportunity to expand our circle of partners and in great -- engage more researchers, practitioners and policy makers in this important work. as a result of the dedication and expertise of everyone in this broom, we are on the right path. as i look at this crowd, i can't help but feel optimistic about our ability to move forward and build on the record of progress you help to establish. thank you, once again, for everything you continue to do and the work you are helping to lead every day. i'm honored to stand with you and published to be with u.s. partners and i look for to will
accomplish for the people and nation we are so privileged to serve. thank you very much. [applause] >> here is a look at our prime- time schedule on c-span. starting at 8:00, nato holds a briefing on continuing military operations in libya. then, remarks from president obama at the american legion national convention in minnesota. after that, a discussion on the challenges of building afghan security forces as the u.s. continues its drawdown in that country. finally, florida congressman alan west holds a town hall meeting with constituents in palm beach gardens. tomorrow on "washington journal" -- the business community's reaction to president obama's plan for regulations and its impact on small businesses.
then, a discussion about financial assistance and humanitarian programs being offered to foreign countries. after that, a discussion about the science of climatology, including forecasting, observation research and climate change. plus, your e-mail, phone calls and tweets. that's "washington journal" at 7:00 on c-span. next, the labor secretary talks about employment rates and job creation. president obama plans to unveil his new jobs plan next month, which includes a spending package to fix and improve the nation's roads and bridges. from the national press club, this is a little more than one hour. >> our staff will be delivering cards strategically drop the program.
you want to hand them to them, we will get ready in just a moment. >> good afternoon and welcome to the national press club. a broadcast journalist with the associated press and i'm the 104th president of the national press club. i'd like to welcome our members and their guests today as well as those of you watching live on c-span and listening over any broadcast audiences. members of the public are in attendance, so if you hear applause, it's not necessarily evidence are journalist members have checked their impartiality of the door. before we get started, i want to thank kipling ours who is here on our front row. america is facing the worst jobs
crisis since the great depression. the official rate stands at 9.1%. the so-called real unemployment rate is a little over 16%. of the unemployed, 30% have been out of work for more than a year. the percentage of american adults and the work force has dropped to 58%, the lowest since 1983. labor day is right around the corner. our guest kindly sit down today with us as the employment landscape continues to change. a lack of useful skills for new jobs is helping to create a larger pool of unemployed workers. unions are fighting to maintain their position in the in force while their public image is said to be at a near all-time low. according to the pew research center poll, americans believe unions have a positive influence on salaries, benefits and working conditions, but they don't think unions contribute to productivity or the ability of companies to compete around the world. the political season is heating up, i don't have to tell you that.
republicans are vying for their party's nomination and hitting the administration hard. r-texas governor says one in six work eligible americans cannot find a full-time job. that's not economic republic -- that sought economic recovery, that is economic disaster. the administration has talked about the presiding during the creation of 2.4 million jobs, about 14 million people remain unemployed. we now know the administration is working on details of a plan to spur job growth with the expected announcement by the president after labor day. secretary solis is no newcomer to washington. she served in the house for eight years for initiatives include affordable health care, protecting the environment, and improving the lives of working families. as an advocate for clean energy jobs, she offered the green jobs that in congress which provided funding for job training for veterans, displaced workers, and families in poverty. before coming to washington, she
served in the california state assembly and in 1994, made history by becoming the first hispanic woman elected to the california state senate. a first generation american, our guests father was a teamsters union shop steward from mexico who worked at a battery recycling plant and her mother, from nicaragua, >> chief helped implement major facets of the recovery and reinvestment act that included extending unemployment benefits, providing workers for benefits needing new skills and jobs in clean energy and health information technology. we do not want to overlook the fact could she was awarded the profile encouragement to work that is presented to public servants who have made courageous decisions. i would ask our audience to give a warm traditional round of
applause to hilda solis. [applause] thank you for sitting down with us at this important time. we have the holiday coming up this monday. we have what we call in the business and financial fields, "numbers day." the president both yesterday and today has been referencing ways to help cure what seems to be a much more substantial unemployment problem than that many many of us had expected. so we know the president is going to make a speech some time. i assume you have been working closely with him and the white house of that plan. there have been some dress coming out on that. what can you tell us about what
we can expect? >> i.t. not want to go ahead of the president and the inkling of information that comes out. i think the public is aware that the president is very concerned about job creation as well as i m. that has been our priority from day one. i think we learned in the last two and a half years what will work and what will not work. one thing he spoke about was extending the payroll tax that will help millions of people and help put discretionary funding out there which will spur job creation. that is one part of it. the other would be to extend the unemployment benefits program that helps provide a safety net for millions of people still looking for jobs. i have a lot of empathy for those five workers -- those who are looking for entry into the work force. we cannot fault them.
they lost jobs through no fault of their own. we owe them as much support as we can to help them transition into new jobs. it is that important that unemployment be used as a tool for people to reinvent themselves, get trained, certification, and have the means to get into that job. the other thing i would say is very important to the many people laid off in the construction and trade in -- industry is the infrastructure.
those are good paying jobs -- good middle-class jobs. >> let us take it from the top. you talk about the extension of the payroll tax. is that not just tickets -- a continuation of the status quo? >> we know that it is a program that worked. we know that shortly after december when that agreement was made between the president and the house and congress that we saw the results in the first part of the year where jobs were coming back. there is a whole series of other things i think were attributed there. i think those are positive signs. >> feast then the infrastructure bank, senator kerrey was a sponsor of that. that idea makes the rounds but may not speak coffee table conversation in many households. can you explain to us how that
works? >> i would say what is really important here is to understand that there is a large number of individuals who represent very key sectors of our economy and that is building and construction and trade. individuals who are tied into that industry, infrastructure. we are also talking about the restoration of bridges, highways, high-speed rail, major investments in our corridors where we find that perhaps if we could ship goods and services in a better way, that would help impact our economy and increase the marketability of our products getting one place to another. getting people from home to work and vice versa and allowing for structures to be retrofitted and in many cases the incentive would be to retrofit them "with new technologies.
i am a big believer -- as you said earlier i was the author of the jobs act that was passed in the former administration but was not funded. this time around, i am very proud to say that this president helped us make those investments so that we could really retrain people in renewable energy. i think if you look at states like california and even maine and other parts of the country where you see the growth of new industries coming to bear, if we continue to make those key investments, we will hopefully see good stabilization and our economic situation. i think about what is happening in brazil. i think about what is happening in china and india and other folks making so many advances in these areas of renewable energy. it has taken us this long. it should not be that way. i think we are ready to take on
the next major step. some cities and states are already doing it. there are lessons to be learned. i think the path the president has laid out as very positive. >> more specifically on the idea of an infrastructure bank, is the idea to draw private investment to help finance, si infrastructure improvement -- bonds would be put out, obviously give opportunities for contractors, developers, individuals who want to make that kind of investment. hopefully, we know that is a very affordable way of getting structures up and built. also, engaging the private sector. this is not something that is just being led by the federal government. we need all partners -- the local, state, city governments. folks that want to make the investments, i think it is a great opportunity. there will be a potential of, who knows, how many millions of jobs created. >> the president on the road
today talking about one of the key priorities for when the caucus comes back is to push ahead for a tax credit to help employee veterans, an astonishing number of whom are unemployed after giving service to their country. how does that work exactly? >> it is an incentive to hire up our returning vets. that's that are coming back from service less than six months, small business owner or medium- size or large business owner can give them a job and receive a tax credit in the amount of those who had been unemployed less than six months, i believe it will be $2,400. it is -- if they have been out of work longer than six months. that is an incentive to get these young folks who are coming back and not finding success, have a job. that is the least we can do. we need to do much more as well.
the president spoke about that today at his speech before the american legion about making sure that we honor our commitment to those returning men and women who serve us. many who did not quite understand it would be serving our country for three and four tourists. it has had a devastating impact on their families. the white house, and even our desk division has done much work now and opening up opportunities of the private sector will hire are returning vets and give them opportunities -- especially those who are disabled. i think that is going to be something that we all should take very seriously and know that it is something that is constantly on our minds and we want to address and we want to make sure that we bring all of the resources to help those veterans. >> you remember congress from the outset, you were in the kong -- california legislature. that means perhaps unlike other
members of the cabinet who come straight from the private sector, you have been well educated in how the political world works for better or worse. so you have obviously seen in almost the unprecedented debate surrounding the debt ceiling which was not comforting to a lot of people and discomforting to many. when you are looking at the priorities of the administration and he are working to home, what is a reasonable expectation that any of these things will actually get through before an election? >> well, i will tell you, it has been an interesting experience sitting in the executive branch and watching what is happening in the congress. it is something that is highly unusual in terms of the polarization that i see. there were many occasions where we would be able to travel and
spend time with members of the other side of the aisle. in fact, i served my first year in the house on the education and work force committee under chairman boehner. it was a very interesting relationship. he did not have to always agree on issues with people across the aisle, but where you could find agreement, you worked. i learned quite a bit. we got a lot done. when we saw that there were challenges for both sides, we could work about and think rationally through the process. i do not know what has happened since then accept there is a big gap. i know that the public is very frustrated. i am frustrated because i know there are members in the house from both sides that want to see things accomplished. the urgency is to make sure we create jobs. also, to be able to make whole
many communities that really need this help urgently. i think about the northeast, i think about the automobile industry that was impacted and what has happened there. i think about the home builders. i think about folks who are in foreclosure. i think about education and training in the challenges we are facing. i remember serving on the energy and commerce committee. remember talking about not just health care reform but this whole initiative to bring out more change in terms of access to different forms of media through broad band. making sure we did not leave any neighborhoods or rule communities behind. we had a lot of arguments for a back-and-forth about how that should happen. i still believe a role in caucus -- a role in congress -- it is important to try to balance our approach.
i do not know if many people in congress are thinking that way at this time. it may be because people have never served before or do not have an exact understanding about how government functions. that can be a part of it because even not understanding the budget process can be complicated for members. if you have staff that are not there to help repair and make sure you are making the right decisions, sometimes that can have consequences. i hope that people will be able to come together and do the right thing because there is an urgency to get our economy working for everybody. i just _ that everybody. >> i have to think on some levels of the government right now, there is an assessment being made on what can reasonably be passed. try to figure out what the political landscape is. where do you see the areas that republicans and democrats can reasonably be expected to agree on these issues?
>> i would hope that the infrastructure bank, that whole concept of really helping to restore aging facilities might be something that immediately would draw the attention of members on both sides of the aisle. i know the chairman of the transportation committee is in the past supported those kind of efforts. i have to believe that we are really talking about communities in this one instance, the hurricane, to show you how devastation can occur in the areas across the country who are somewhat conservative and may need federal assistance at this time. let us think about it in terms of trying to help areas that need an immediate attention and help look at long-term planning so that we do not run into situations where you are have -- have aging bridges that all of a sudden collapse or rail systems
that cannot transport our goods and services from one port to another. i think about those things all the time having come from a state like california where we have all kinds of commerce. one slip of -- a bad decision on a railroad line can devastate communities if things are not appropriately cared for and handled and we do not have appropriate needs to continue to make sure things operate appropriately and safely. those are things i think members across the aisle can agree on that they need our attention. >> there does not seem to be much disagreement on the notion that the job market me tell. the question is, how to go about that. there are people who on one end of the spectrum say the government needs to be as far out of the equation as possible. other cedis to be more aggressive. some were there is in between. coming up at the press club is
ron paul. i think i know where he stands, but it will be interesting to hear his views. we have michele bachman taking a somewhat similar viewpoint. or do you put yourself on the proper mix of government and the private sector generally been looking at the solutions? >> well, i work for the government. my role is to help facilitate access to unemployment opportunities. we run 3000 jobs centers across the country. this has been going on for some time to try to get people into our doors to get trained up. i look at my job as to help enhance, not to be a barrier, but to provide access and opportunities. many people are befuddle but
what the department of labour does. we are done just an enforcement agency, however we are the second-largest in the federal government compared to the department of justice. we also facilitate investments. if i have somebody that i need that is interested in trying to train their employees or attract employees and technological areas like pharmaceuticals, are one-stop centers can help post those openings, even trained and collaborate with some of our partnerships and provide the training so that we can meet the needs of the employer. that is what we need to do a better job at. we are doing it now. i have seen in the last two and a half years a more precise way of figuring that out. it has taken a while for the government to really understand the priorities of helping
businesses. we're not treating people for jobs that do not exist, but jobs that will make their potential employees competitive. you hear a lot about, well, the workforce is not trained well. we have jobs open. i will tell you one thing, there are so many people in terms of those who have not been able to find jobs and many that are highly skilled. we have a ph.d., architects, engineers, a whole field of well-trained people. it is the jobs that they are seeking that may not be available right now. what that tells me is we better start investing in a whole new sort of jobs and hopefully make investments in renewable energy, i.t., broadband, health care. these are all areas that are growing by leaps and bounds. i see there will be a future there. likewise, bringing back some of the manufacturing base and bring
jobs back here. one example is the lithium batteries, and putting smarter cars out there with gm and chrysler competing with foreign markets. seeing the reality of former lee laid off dislocated workers being put back to work, now creating new systems. same method lot -- say methodology, but the systems of being part of the management and labour partnership. i saw it on the ground but i went out in ohio, saw it and destroyed -- detroit, saw it in other parts of the country where stories need to be told to the public. there are some get things that come out of -- the negative aspects of the fiscal crisis, it creates a challenge for us. it is one that is stubborn. it is hard. i am committed and the president
is committed to make sure we put people into the best fit for them. >> the me ask you this. there is a perception that people expressed at the president's priority was more about deficit reduction that it wasn't getting jobs created and that he is only recently turned it around on that. is that accurate? >> i do not think so at all. for the last two and a half years, we have been making major investments in the training for a new work force and renewable energy and health care and i.t. and broadband. also, training up individuals. we still need -- the struck me as something very interesting when i was out in the field a year and a half ago. there are many small manufacturer toolmakers to tell me, you know, it would be great if i could have just an average joe that could help me develop and continue with the development of our industry of toolmaking.
welders, the old jobs that people are not prioritize the right now, we have a shortage of highly skilled people in those industries. i have seen where it proper investments are made, you can bring back the industry. we can compete across the world. i saw this happening at an operation that is run by viking, one of the largest manufacturers of tool bets. i learned a lot about it. i found that their assistance that they received to the federal government, they were able to retool their factories and actually take old machinery that was unused, maybe 50 years old, taken all the way down to the bottom, rebuild it, treat a whole new dynamic, and are now creating new bits that are being sold run the country. now have more ships on going. also because of its investments
reduce their energy consumption. they're saving money. recycling, conserving, and retraining. sending folks to some of our neighboring partnership schools. people cannot tell me that they cannot be done. we cannot retool our workers and some of these older traditional jobs as well as creating opportunities for those who are looking into the future. >> somebody asked, can the united states job market grow in a robust way without having manufacturing lead the way? >> i think manufacturing is definitely a major cornerstone for our economy. it has helped so many people in the past stay in the middle class. i know there have been some changes in the past, but i do believe there is this interest now. i am just talking hypothetically hear from what i have seen, people are feeling a sense that,
you know, we have got to invest in our country. we have to invest in our best resources, our cuban capital. training and retraining people here and making products and selling them abroad. that is what the president has talked about these trade agreements. to be able to trade our products, our agriculture, our automobiles, are technology, and send them abroad to help lift up those economies. i am for that. i think that is something that is very real. the president and i are all working together on something we want to see accomplished. i think the other side of the aisle has spoken about that as well. now they have an opportunity to help. >> that is a good example. in his political environment, we cannot find agreement on those points. is that discouraging for you?
>> to a certain extent it is. you have to know what you are dealing with. i think we remain seen these agreements move forward. the president knows it is part of our success to be the kind of products that we can sell abroad. obviously, that will have a tremendous impact. it will drive markets and whole new areas, hopefully help a lot of our farmers, all kinds of industries can benefit. meanwhile, making sure we are mindful of our labor protections and keeping standards were they should be. those are two goals that i think come out of the whole trade discussion. >> i think it will be interesting to know to the degree you can describe it, how does the dynamic work between you and your department and the white house in terms of driving the employment agenda.
the creaky well aligned on that? -- are you well aligned on that? do you have to step up a little bit to say, hey, do not forget about us. we know there are worse out there, the defense department has to be concerned. there are a lot of people out there who are hurting. how does that dynamic work in a conversation that you have with the administration? >> to be quite honest, i am very pleased with the communication and dialogue that we have. for the first time in a long time, i am so happy to work for this president. i have met many presidents and worked many years ago in the white house had a different level. thinking about the ability to
sit with the president and talk about policies and what i see out in the field and share that with him and his staff, i think it is very legitimate and very welcome to. i have to say that much of what i think i bring to the table are exactly what the president wants. he wants all honesty, he wants to know what in our analysis is better served for the public, he wants to know how quickly we can get things done. i am very pleased with the relationship that he personally has with members of the cabinet and also myself. this is a first time i see myself in a very unique situation. i am also the first lateen a cabinet member ever in the history of this country. i think about that not as
something that you know puts me in a different category. no. it is allowing for more people to see that there is a vision in this white house that allows for different ideas and different individuals to serve. while i did not attend different prep schools and formalities that other individuals have been exposed to, i bring a different experience. one that has served people in public service. the president being the first african-american president is quite an accomplishment, do you not think? >> you both have something to brag about. i am glad you are able to make that point to us. would you expect that the president is reelected, he will continue to serve as labor secretary? what's that is entirely up to our president.
i serve at his will. >> will he does that serve your expectations? >> [laughter] i enjoy working for him and representing this administration. it has really been an exciting time, i think, for some of us to serve because the needs are so profound and so great. people have often asked me, how did you take this job at this time knowing that unemployment was so high? that was not the first driver off of why i decided to do this. i did it because this is a historic moment in time for us. i think my country needs individuals who are going to think a little differently but with the same kind of enthusiasm and patriotism to want to help our entire country and hopefully be able to set a good example.
i think that is probably one of the greatest things that i could say that i have experienced. we are only 2 1/2 years into our term. >> he spoke earlier about what you had in common with the president. seems like to the last several months as poll numbers go down and up, some americans feel like they do not know who the president really is. they have a sense that they thought they knew him during the election to be one thing, and obviously, i am speaking in generalities but basing it on what the polls have told us, sometimes there is a desire on the part of some people to see a president who is more passionate. i can think about when he was talking about the bp oil spill were he used colorful language about making sure people were brought to bear for their
responsibility for that. since you have had an opportunity to see the president and pirate -- private and public settings, who is barack obama and what is he made of? in all seriousness. >> i think he is a very passionate -- compassionate and also intelligent human being. one that will listen and will take the time to better understand the issues and problems and want to hear everybody else regardless of what authority he might bring to bear. i respect that. i also see an individual who cares very deeply about this country and has inspired many people. here in washington, it is really easy for us to get lost and it to think that just because all of the networks and tv folks are
saying this or that that that is the rule of the day. but when i go out into communities and i visit, and i spend a lot of time across this country, i am hearing more about, you know, it is nice to know that you all are focusing in on helping american samoa create jobs, to get the job training or get the assistance i need so i can continue to look for a job for benefits. recently, let me give you an example. i visited a reservation in arizona. a group of individuals who had been serving a community that suffered from high unemployment for decades -- came before me% unemployment. their means of assistance there are program was helping to provide job training in the area of health care and the global energy and giving some semblance of hope for these individuals. while our funding was not the
major source that they received, they were very grateful and thankful. they were very kind and very proud. they did not necessarily want handouts. they wanted a hand up. i see that as very, very important. i do believe that the american public because there are very resilient, we have that can-do spirit about us regardless of what situation you are and. i have seen it from those who are at the very bottom, some who are in the middle that have now fallen down. let me tell you how horrifying that can be for families. i know the president sees what i see as well. i can tell you he is a very sensitive individual.
everybody has their different style. i do respect him greatly. for the people who have brought together to serve in this administration. you do not hear a lot about that. sometimes, it is about making sure that people get the services that they need. the president said, you know, if i did not call you and as a cabinet member, that is good. i do not have a problem with you. you are doing your job. you're getting services out. you're doing what you are supposed to be doing. to me, it makes so much sense. >> speaking of people he brings to serve, and yesterday he announced the former chief economist of the labor department is now his choice to be the head of his council of economic advisers. some people were making the point that, well, he is a labor economist. that means this that or the
other thing. is there any particular importance to the background of alan krueger that means this is where the president's priories are for the remainder of the first term? >> i know allen. we worked together on different issues when he was in treasury. i respect him greatly. i think he will provide and continue to provide good leadership and counsel to the president and to his economic team and us. i look forward to working with him. i think he will bring to a depth and a greater understanding about what our economic situation is and how to help remedy that. i think it will be great. i know that the president -- we urgently need these positions filled. i would hope that the congress and senate will make their voices heard, they truly
understand the role that he will play and has played in previous administrations. even at the department of labor, he was chief economist there. i know him as a very intelligent, thoughtful, and highly respected individual. >> would you be dismissive of those who say that the appointment of those with department of labor experience means anything about where the president's agenda is going? is this merely a continuation of what the president has been intending all along? >> i in not want to protect. as i said, i can just place my opinion on what i know. he is a highly talented and intelligent individual who has served us well. hopefully he will continue in this new capacity and be able to help us immediately be able to attack this problem of high
unemployment and helped to provide a better balance in our economic endeavors. i hope that he will do a good job. >> we mentioned at the outset friday's numbers, the unemployment rate and the peril numbers among the others being released. i know that is always a big day for you and those who are following these numbers. today, we have some consumer confidence numbers that were horrible. it may have been reflecting the situation with the debt debate. we do not know exactly how all of that played into it. as one who has interviewed you from the beginning of the administration on a monthly basis, i will say you have been very consistent -- i am trying to be fear here -- never wanting to raise expectations, but the recovery would be particularly easy. i remember one month i think there was an outside gain in payroll numbers. you were sort of like, do not
look for this for the next three months kind of thing. at this point, do you feel like you have seen all along this will be a slow and steady process, where as you said yourself many americans are frustrated with what is showing up in the poll numbers? >> i know this is a really tough recession coming out in the recovery. while that amount may seem small, it needs to be higher, definitely. where we have come out of, people have to understand that when the president began his job, we had already lost close to 4 million. on top of that in february as soon as i came on board, there was another 4 million. we lost 8 million jobs. we were losing over 700,000 jobs
at the beginning of his administration. now, we are adding. while it might be smaller, we are seeing contractions in our economy. in different sectors, some sectors are doing really well. silicon valley, pharmaceuticals, some of these highly technical areas are the ones that are helping to continue moving our economy. i see that continuing at that level. therefore, we need to start bringing and making those changes that we need to bring people along so we have better skills, better trained, more competitive individuals, and we are actually competing with our friends from other countries like china, brazil, india, and other places. we need to make those hard choices. some people are of the mindset that, no, they do not want to go in that direction. those are the forces we have to contend with. i am cautious.
i am not an economist. i know that i can only base my judgment on what reports i am given to the bearer bureau of labor and statistics. in the past 17 months, the pattern has shown me that we are able to create 2.4 million private sector jobs. they have been in the manufacturing, they have been in the health care, they have been in business and professions. there are different sectors that have actually been able to improve. when that i worry about a bit is the public sector, local government and it teaching. if we want to remain competitive, we need to be mindful that we just do not release and allow for a lot of our teachers -- especially the young teachers we are trying to bring into slowly be dissuaded and not want to stay in the teaching profession. we need teachers. we need young vibrant teachers.
we need to take care of teachers who have been serving us well and make sure we do the right things to help increase the ability for our young people who desire to go to college to have access to go to college and to be able to have the tools and training available for them. right now, education is suffering. i see that. we were lot with community colleges right now. many of them -- i look back at my own state of california were budgets have been shrinking, we cannot afford to not make those investments. we have to be mindful of where we are going from our path. if we go down the right path, we will be better prepared, better educated, and ready to meet those challenges. >> when you talk about making those investments, the federal government is in a it is not in a position to fund state and local governments anymore, is it? "i do not think we are going to see stimulus ii if you are
asking that. i do think the things we talked about earlier, the infrastructure bank, and immediate remedies to help alleviate the stress that is being experienced by many families, extending unemployment, all of those things will be helpful. i would just hope that we could get to the business of the people that we represent and what to help. >> so another person who is taking some political fire is federal reserve chairman ben bernanke pooh is criticized. at the fed meeting earlier this month, the fed came out and said we will have to persist on employment for the next two years. did that seem surprising? were you disappointed when you heard that? at the fed would eventually say, give up hope. the unemployment rate will go down before the election.
but to do not think he said given up hope. i do not give up hope. i know if you do not. i feel very strongly that going back to what i see around the country, people have resiliency. there are wanting to get up. just imagine if it was you. you were laid off, your job when a way and nobody called you back. now, you have to figure out what to do. you get up every morning to go find that job. you find it resistance. you find the employer is not calling you back or nobody is going to accept you. it is tough. yet, you get up every morning because you know if you have to. there are millions of people that are feeling like that right now. you know what, i am not going to give up hope requests i misspoke when i said that because he is nobody's spiritual adviser.
i think what he was saying is that this is the reality. when you have someone who can speak and move markets any minute sang, i do not expect the job market to be improved did that come as a surprise when the fed came out and said that to you? what did not surprise me is what he said is that it is the job of the congress and our leaders to make some decisions. to break the gridlock. that is what is important. i think that is what the public and everybody who is watching from a round the world to see what will happen. i believe that the president is ready. he said he is ready to meet those demands and to work until this is resolved. take care of our debt. also, making sure that we do not hurt the economic recovery. i would like to remind people that in the previous
administration, we were acting on an average of 11,000 jobs per month. i can tell you in the short time that i have been with this president, we have added on an average far and above beyond that. 2.4 million jobs is not where it should be, but let me tell you, we have worked really hard to make sure that we increase the opportunities. -- we have a long ways to go, but people have to understand where we started and where we are going. that path tells me, i hear from other economists to. they see the path that the president has taken is one that is been well thought out and develop to given the restraints and constraints that we are faced with. >> let me ask you about the
upcoming holiday. as i mentioned in my introduction, there is a wide divergence of opinions among the american public about unions. we have seen that in debate in state capitals like wisconsin and ohio very recently, recall a elections involving that process and wisconsin as well. as labor secretary, do you feel as if you are an advocate for all workers, all potential workers including members of labor unions, and how you balance that when you have essentially all the potential workers out in the american public having an angry debate about where the role the u.n. should play? >> first of all, we represent all workers. that is number one. that is very important, especially for fox that our workers who have been
dislocated. that is free important for all of us. we represent everyone. obviously, i support individuals who choose to be a part of the union and those who don't. that is my role. i have to be very fair and objective in how we run our programs. making sure that across the board there is a balance. i think that is what we have been able to do. all you have to do is look to see where we've made our investments in terms of our federal funding. we want to continue to raise standards of our program so we do a better job. >> my sense is that some people do not mind the idea that unions have helped them or the accomplishments that have helped american to obtain like a 40 hour work week or a right to a minimum wage or overtime. but when they see union members
that they perceive have greater benefits than they do, especially if they are state or unionized government workers, they become resentful. that seems to be what is driving some of what has been happening lately. when you see a state that has a debate over trying to take away collective bargaining rights for some workers and yet its potential workers or people who are employed are not represented by unions pushing an agenda forward, how would you weigh in on that debate? >> first and foremost, i think we are concerned when there are issues that arise like in wisconsin and ohio. i know that that has been a big debate. a lot of states are faced with some financial crisis right now. they are operating in the red. we know that there are challenges.
i would just say it is good of both sides can meet at the table and decide in the best interest of the public and then sells and what they are charged with doing to be able to work those different the jig those differences out face-to-face. not one overruling the other, but sitting down and having that conversation. that is what the president and i believe in. he should be able to negotiate. i know that public-sector unions and other sectors have given up a lot in the past few years. in fact, some members will give up salary increases and bonuses just to keep their health-care benefits. i see that time and time again. you don't hear a lot about that. sacrifices can be made and have been made, but you cannot just told one group responsible for the demise of the whole state. that is not what this is a doubt
and not how this happened. he should not be blaming a group. we realize there has to be compromises. let us do what rationally and at the table. >> let me knock out a few questions from the audience real quick. should you as workplace laws cover legal and illegal workers? are you concerned about encouraging illegal workers to work here in the united states? >> our current federal laws protect all workers in this country. previous administrations, both republican and democrat, have held it to that. i am not doing anything different. my priority is to make sure that we enforce our laws appropriately and we help businesses and employees understand what their rights are and what the expectations
are and also assist businesses to better understand that they have a responsibility when they do take on that role of employing individuals. i think that is what my role is. >> this came from twitter. what impact to apply permits and forth for workers not on the the the number of jobs in the workforce? >> there are obviously some great challenges right now in the job market. our priority is to make sure that citizens here in our country have the opportunity to apply for those jobs. we have a lot of jobs to fill now. let me give you an example -- agriculture. we hear a lot from farmers and contractors say they cannot attract people into these jobs.
some of these shops, quite frankly, pay anywhere from $11, $12, $13, $14 an hour. i wonder why we are not allowing for more folks who are unemployed and who are drawing in less -- if they were told these jobs were available, i would think we should, number one, tried to do that first before we necessarily have to go outside of our country. but we do have programs in place so we can minimize abuses in the work force. we can allow for a better standard so that everyone complies. you are not also somehow disadvantaging a competitor that is over here on this side that is actually planning by the walls, paying their taxes, and doing everything right, instead of rewarding and other individual who may not be doing
any of those things and hurting our economy and our american workers. >> you may have heard the story about some foreign students being employed at the plant by a third party and came -- essentially what on strike recently. do you think for a student should be employed in the american industry packing plants or plant during any kind of work such as hershey? that is one thing that is a great concern to us right now. we are currently investigating that issue. >> that is a current investigation. you think the government should subsidize summer jobs for american youth desperately -- that is maryland for those of you hearing this outside the immediate area -- seeking summer employment rather than given exclusively to f youth willing to wmuch cheaper wages and live and what
are substandard conditions? >> those are real issues. that is why we are looking into them. there has been in the past some of use of these to be subprograms. we are really trying desperately to find a balance. we go there are industries that do thrive on these individuals that are brought in. i think with this administration, we are really looking at providing better accountability and transparency and making sure that people are meeting the intent of the law and not confusing it. that is number one. again, we have so many people here, talented individuals, i am sure would be interested in serving the positions that pay well. i've got to strongly encourage folks to see those positions. if we can fill them with folks here, obviously that is a priority of ours. >> what is your vision of an
apprenticeship, manufacturing in the future? >> i actually have seen very good labor-management apprenticeship program to run throughout the country. one good example i have seen was the helmets to hard hats program where you are going to see some of our veterans that are going to be coming home, but are still serving, get trained up and get services provided to this apprenticeship program that is being offered. they can get into different kinds of trades whether it is a tight fitting it -- all kinds of different activities. much of it is subsidized through the private sector and through union dues. it has worked well and some parts of the military branches. i hope they can expand. i hope more people take advantage. i have seen that work well.
public-private collaboration or unions and private industry that come together that know how to get things done, they get projects done. they are well trained, good paying jobs. i have seen them work at their best, i have also heard were they have not and were there have been abuses. of course, we want to rid the system as much as we can of abuses. >> before i get to the absolutely last question, i have a couple of housekeeping matters to take care of. i have to remind the audience of some upcoming speakers we have coming up. september 6, the former mayor of new york rudy guiliani will talk about the 10th anniversary of 9/11. the chief executive of space x will talk about the future of space flight. if any of you have been
covering that story, whether the space station can be inhabited by humans in the near term is a very pressing question. that will be a newsworthy event as well. and ken burns will be here october 3 to talk about prohibition, which is the subject of his next documentary on public broadcasting. before i get to the last question, i would like to present you with a token of our appreciation. it is our national press club coffee mug. thank you so much for being here. [applause] >> thank you. >> my last question is, somebody told me that you could write a book that could be titled something along the lines of, "everything i ever learned about government, i learned in the state of california." he saw some things take place there. you had that heritage and experience in the golden state. >> i think california is very
well represented of what happens throughout our country. you have rule, you have enter city, you have suburbia, you have different types of geographical landscapes. you definitely see a different economic growth and the different sectors of our economy whether it is silicon valley, now of ballot, agriculture business, manufacturing, some of the finest institutions of learning. i recall a member of the house before i took this position, i saw in my own district at least three years before the recession was called a recession, high rates of unemployment. manufacturing jobs already leaving. the fact that we could see a slow-moving economy, loss of jobs were already starting to happen. i knew then that there was going
to be some challenges. if i saw it happening in my own district in california, i knew we would be faced with major challenges. serving in the house there and in the senate, i was confronted with a lot of these labor issues there. whether it was dealing with sweat shops, dealing with safety measures in construction, minimum wage issues, health care issues, many things that i was privy to work on, i was exposed to very early on there. it is a continuance to see many of the projects and programs, bills of the crafted or funded or what have you, i had some exposure to while serving in the house also. more importantly back in sacramento, i was a board member
and trustee for a community college. right now, one of our major sources of engine of growth for our training programs. i know those programs very well, and i am very proud. i am very proud to have such a rich experience coming from california. >> how about a round of applause for our speaker today? [applause] thank you. i would like to thank our national press club staff for organizing today's an event. i would also like to thank our guest from china who has been so kind to visit us today through georgetown university. and a reminder you can find more information about the national press club at our web site at www.press.org. and we are adjourn. happy labor day everybody. happy labor day everybody.